NBPA executive director Michele Roberts is defending Ben Simmons against accusations that he might be claiming psychological issues as an excuse to avoid playing, writes Liz Roscher of Yahoo Sports. Simmons told his Sixers teammates and coach Doc Rivers on Friday that’s he’s not mentally ready to start playing for the team again. That prompted skeptics to question Simmons’ motives since he claimed a medical issue with back tightness earlier this week.
Roberts threw her support behind Simmons and blasted Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey for suggesting that it could take a long time to find an acceptable trade, possibly even the four years that Simmons has left on his contract.
“Really? Is it so hard to believe that Ben’s not mentally at a place to compete? Professional athletes — like the rest of us — have difficult periods in our lives that require time and energy to heal,” Roberts said. “We have and will continue to provide Ben with the support and resources he needs to work through this. Threatening the prospect of ‘another four years’ serves no one’s interests. Like Tobias (Harris), I say let’s respect Ben’s space and embrace him while allowing him the time to move forward. So, take a breath and count to 10: We are all too good to continue to play this perpetual game of chicken.”
As Roberts mentioned, Tobias Harris tweeted his support for Simmons on Friday. It remains to be seen if his other teammates will follow suit.
There’s more from Philadelphia: